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Spring is finally here! I know, I know. It’s not official. But it has been glorious this week. I have even made a start at this year’s suntan. In addition to this, my garbage disposal and dishwasher (both of which went kaput last week) have been replaced. All is right with the world, for a moment at least.
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In Charlotte Mason Boot Camp this week, the question came up regarding Miss Mason’s view of parental authority. I think we’ve all encountered situations where her thoughts on children being persons were misinterpreted to mean total license on the part of the children. The short answer, of course, is that the Charlotte Mason spends quite a bit of time on the relational harmony between the parents, who are in authority, and the children, who are to be obedient (she uses the word docile). I came up with some extra credit reading assignments on this subject, and thought you all might enjoy them as well:
Here is some reading in Charlotte Mason’s volumes on this subject:
- From School Education:
- From A Philosophy of Education:
And here are some blog posts:
- At School with Charlotte: Beginning with Authority
- At School with Charlotte: How Authority Behaves
- The Charlotte Mason Philosophy: Understanding Authority
And here is an interesting PR article:
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My children installed bird feeder number one thousand and seventeen this week. I’m all in favor of birds, but it’s getting a bit ridiculous. Good thing I don’t look.
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This month in 2016:
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This week’s links collection:
- This desert in the Southwest is experiencing a wildflower ‘superbloom’ from the Washington Post
- WHY must this be almost five hours away? I had hoped it was closer when I heard the news.
- When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes from The Atlantic
- In my experience, some doctors find the idea that their patients might know something to be cause for offense. Using a smartphone in front of a doctor sounds like risky business to me!
- Reflections on the revolution in Middlebury from The American Enterprise Institute
- Worth reading!
- The Monk Who Saves Manuscripts From ISIS from The Atlantic
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Answering your questions:
- Question: I’m fairly new to the CM method and I’m looking at AmblesideOnline and obviously it’s a lot of reading… Right now, my son is eight years old and it’s just been within the past year that he’s been able to read some things independently. Which means, most of our reading is done aloud by me. My question is: (Regardless of who reads) Am I to expect him to narrate everything we read? Or do I have him only narrate maybe one reading per day? Should I have him do some written narrations at this age, as well?
- Answer: Hello, and a warm welcome to the world of Charlotte Mason! I’m glad you’re here! So, first, every reading ought to be narrated. Charlotte Mason calls narration “the act of knowing” — it’s really that important. This means that, in the beginning while it is being trained, you might not get through all the readings you have scheduled. That’s okay. Building that skill of narration is so important and it will pay huge dividends later on. Second, Charlotte Mason recommended starting written narration around age 10 or fourth grade. The many years before this spent narrating all readings orally are considered “composition” — they just aren’t written. I really think she set it up this way because she understood something a lot of writing curricula forget, that writing well requires thinking well. Oral narration is sufficient in the younger years because they are strengthening all the muscles required for putting thoughts together that they will need for writing eloquently when they are older. At age ten (or fourth grade), you can begin with one narration per day. In AmblesideOnline, the recommendation tends to be that you add one a week each year after that until they are writing daily (so: fifth grade is 2 written narrations per week and sixth grade is 3 — make sense?). I can vouch for this working really well. My high schooler writes narrations daily, my sixth grader writes four per week, and my fourth grader writes once per week and each of those frequencies feels perfect to me. 🙂
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